A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Race, class, education, and other potentially tricky topics are addressed, often in a joking manner, but the overall theme is positive and hopeful. Characters struggle to find their identities, and perseverance is a major theme. There's also a strong family dynamic throughout. Parents may have plenty to discuss with kids after an episode.
Positive Role Models
Eddie Huang is a bit rebellious, but he's also a straight-A student who loves, respects, and spends time with his parents. His tough attitude reflects a desire to be liked, and often backfires on him. He's also dismissive with his brothers, telling them to "shut up." The parents want the best for their kids and work hard to create success for the whole family; Each of the Huangs is a well-rounded character who's trying his or her best in a challenging situation.
Violence & Scariness
Occasional scuffles among school kids; fighting generally takes place offscreen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Women are occasionally shown in revealing outfits; references to dating. Some discussion of sexuality among Eddie and his friends.
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Rarely "bitch" and "slut," lots of "hell," the occasional "dammit," and ethnic slurs such as "chink."
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Products & Purchases
Frequent references to real celebrities, particularly hip-hop artists: Nas, Notorious B.I.G.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Restaurant customers drink wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fresh Off the Boat is a family sitcom about a Chinese-American family and is based on the bestselling memoir by restaurateur Eddie Huang. In a light and often sardonically sweet manner, the show tackles many challenging subjects: race, class, and ethnicity. Characters react in unpleasant ways to various aspects of the Huangs' life; ethnic slurs such as "chink" are used. Parents may want to watch with children to discuss sensitive topics. The young actor playing the fictionalized Huang, who fancies himself a tough guy like his heroes Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., says things such as "What the hell?" and "Shut up!" to his brothers in front of his parents (who scold him).
Is It Any Good?
On the network of Modern Family and Black-ish, this sitcom seems both completely at home and -- the title says it best -- fresh. In less deft comedic hands, plot lines such as the mother concluding that her sons need after-school Chinese education could come off as stereotyped and offensive. Instead, the jokes feel warm and lived-in and often have a pleasantly absurd twist: When the mother, Jessica, goes to Eddie's principal to complain about the quality of her son's education, the daft principal talks up the school's lone after-school offering: farm animals that come to be petted. In fact, "I have a baby chicken on my lap right now," he says. Eddie's face lights up as he reaches over to pet it.
It's a sweet moment, and there are a lot of them in Fresh Off the Boat, with actors who are appealing enough to carry them off. Eddie's pre-puberty swagger is adorable instead of annoying; Jessica seems like a real mama bear instead of a Tiger Mom stereotype. Even Grandma gets her moments to shine. This is a great show for whole-family viewing; lively discussions of what happened on the show may well follow.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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